Most food and beverage service jobs are entry-level jobs and do not require a high school diploma. The majority of workers receive short-term on-the-job training.
Most states require workers, such as nonrestaurant servers, who serve alcoholic beverages to be 18 years of age or older.
There are no formal education requirements for becoming a food and beverage serving worker.
Most workers learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training, usually lasting several weeks. Training includes basic customer service, kitchen safety, safe food-handling procedures, and good sanitation habits.
Some employers, particularly those in fast-food restaurants, teach new workers with the use of self-study programs, online programs, audiovisual presentations, or instructional booklets that explain food preparation and service procedures. However, most food and beverage serving and related workers learn their skills by watching and working with more experienced workers.
Some full-service restaurants provide new dining room employees with classroom training sessions that alternate with periods of on-the-job work experience. The training communicates the operating philosophy of the restaurant, helps new employees establish a personal rapport with other staff, teaches employees formal serving techniques, and instills a desire in the staff to work as a team.
Some nonrestaurant servers and bartender helpers who work in establishments where alcohol is served may need training on state and local laws concerning the sale of alcoholic beverages. Some states, counties, and cities mandate such training, which typically lasts a few hours and can be taken online or in-house.
Advancement opportunities are limited to those who remain on the job for a long time. However, some dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers may advance to waiter, waitress, or bartender positions as they learn the basics of serving food or preparing drinks.
Communication skills. Food and beverage serving and related workers must listen carefully to their customers’ orders and relay them correctly to the kitchen staff so that the orders are prepared to the customers’ request.
Customer-service skills. Food service establishments rely on good food and customer service to keep customers and succeed in a competitive industry. As a result, workers should be courteous and be able to attend to customers’ requests.
Physical stamina. Food and beverage serving and related workers spend most of their worktime standing, carrying heavy trays, cleaning work areas, and attending to customers’ needs.